Disciplinarity and Historiography

Subjects and academic fields are not simply given but very much a result of the production of texts and the debates triggered by them. The writings of Vasari in the 16th century for instance not only established the genre of the artist biography but also gave rise to the category of "renaissance" — a term established in the 19th century when the history of art became an academic subject. Closer to our time we have recently seen the emergence of "contemporary art" as being a distinctly different from "modern art." To contextualize current debates and give it a proper historical grounding historiographic research investigates under what circumstances certain fields, subjects, and methods of study emerge. When and how do they change? How do "methods" develop?

Current Faculty Research

  • Andrew McClellan - The professionalization of art museum curators: Paul Sachs and the museum course at Harvard
  • Peter Probst - From Einstein to Enwezor – a history of African art history
  • Eric Rosenberg - S.J. Freedberg and Clement Greenberg: Renaissance and Modern Painting Between Academic Scholarship and Contemporary Criticism; Richard Diebenkorn between Academy, Museum and Market